Does Prozac Make You Lose Weight?

It’s been 5 years since Prozac was first approved for sale in the UK, and the medication continues to be a massive seller, with global shipments reaching 2.9 million units in 2018.

People are now more aware than ever of the drug’s potential side-effects, and the worry many have about taking antidepressants is heightened by the fact that there are now more users of the medication than ever before. This isn’t just a UK phenomenon, with US prescriptions for antidepressants reaching an all-time high in 2018.

While the majority of people who take antidepressants experience little to no side-effects, there is evidence to suggest that they may cause some people to lose weight. Is Prozac to blame? We looked into the evidence and found that while there is no scientific proof that Prozac causes weight loss, there are some interesting connections that could point to a link between the two.

Antidepressants And Weight Loss

The most recent evidence that suggests a link between antidepressants and weight loss is from a study conducted in 2018. The researchers examined the medication usage of over 300,000 patients and found that those who were prescribed antidepressants were more likely to have weight loss concerns and to have started losing weight compared to those who were not prescribed antidepressants. The results of the study were published in the journal PLOS ONE.

The study focused on patients aged between 18 and 64 who were registered with a general practitioner in the UK, and the weight loss data were collected between 2008 and 2014. The patients were then followed up for 2 years, between 2015 and 2017. During this time, 12.6% of people who were not on antidepressants lost 5% or more of their weight, compared to 3.7% of those who were prescribed the medication. The results showed that people who were on antidepressants were significantly more likely to have developed polypharmacy, which is when you start taking multiple medications for a single condition. The study did not specify what type of antidepressants were being prescribed.

Although the study found a link between antidepressants and weight loss, it did not establish a cause-and-effect relationship. It’s also important to consider that there are numerous factors that could explain why some people on antidepressants would lose weight while others did not. Some of these include, but are not limited to, the following:

1. The Method Of Assessing Weight Loss

In the study, those who were on antidepressants were more likely to have weight loss concerns as assessed by their doctor. However, this does not mean that all those who have weight loss concerns are on antidepressants, as some people may simply be experiencing a physical decline that is causing them to lose weight. In this case, the doctor’s assessment of the patient’s weight would be the most accurate.

2. Genes Could Play A Role

Weight is a complex issue that is affected by many factors including hormones, medications, and environment. So, it is possible that even though some people experience negative side-effects from antidepressants, others could experience them and yet still continue to lose weight. This could be because they have a gene that encourages them to lose weight or it could be because of a specific diet that they are on.

If you are interested in trying antidepressants, make sure that you have researched their potential side-effects and determined whether or not they are acceptable to you. Also, be sure to tell your doctor about any previous surgeries or medical conditions that you have, as well as any other medications that you are currently taking. Only then can they properly advise you on whether or not this medication is right for you.

What About SSRIs?

Some people may wonder if they should avoid all forms of antidepressants, as they believe that SSRIs cause more harm than good. However, this is far from the case, and there is mounting evidence to suggest that SSRIs can actually help people lose weight. One of the main reasons why SSRIs may help to improve a patient’s weight is because they have been found to increase levels of the peptide YY (PYY), which is associated with decreased food consumption and increased thermogenesis (heat production). This occurs because SSRIs have been shown to increase levels of the orexin system in the brain, which is responsible for alertness, energy, and wakefulness. As a result, it may be that some people experience improved mental and physical wellbeing, as well as a weight loss, as a side-effect of taking these medications. The evidence that SSRIs cause weight loss is mounting, and classes of antidepressants that are known to increase levels of PYY and/or orexin seem to be the most effective at doing this. Some well-known SSRIs that have been proven to increase levels of PYY include paroxetine, fluoxetine, and escitalopram.

People with anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa have stated that antidepressants have helped them to maintain healthy weight, and psychiatrists and other medical professionals have noted that antidepressants can be effective in treating both these conditions. This is mainly because those who have these eating disorders are frequently diagnosed with depression, and it is well known that antidepressants can be used to treat both depression and eating disorders. However, it is important to remember that even though antidepressants can help to maintain a healthy weight, it does not mean that they are a weight loss remedy (as previously discussed).

Is The Risk Of Side-Effects Worth It?

The issue of whether or not the risks of side-effects from antidepressants are worth it remains highly debated. Some people believe that the benefits of the medication far outweigh the risks, while others believe that the risks are too great to justify the benefits. One of the main reasons why some people believe that the risks of side-effects are not worth it is because of the fear of experiencing an even worse case of depression if they do happen. While it is important to take this into consideration, it is also important to remember that there is no guarantee that taking antidepressants will lead to you developing depression. It is also well known that if you do experience the side-effects, they are extremely mild and almost always go away on their own. Some people may also argue that the small risks of side-effects are worth it if it means that they can avoid the much larger risks of not taking the medication. It is certainly a grey area, but many people feel that the benefits of taking antidepressants far outweigh the risks.

There is no denying that antidepressants can have some serious side-effects, and it is essential that you are aware of them. Depression is a serious illness and if you are at risk of developing it, it is well worth considering whether or not to take these medications. However, it is also essential that you are aware of the potential side-effects before you make a decision, as they rarely appear immediately and can be irreversible. Just make sure that you are aware of all the pros and cons before you commit to taking antidepressants.